Lung parenchyma culture

Lung parenchyma culture

Through its extensive tissue network Biopta can obtain both healthy and diseased human lung samples for use in our range of ex vivo respiratory assays.

The parenchymal explant culture model provides an excellent platform to investigate and understand the mechanisms of lung diseases such as asthma and COPD.  The model is also ideally suited for investigating the local effects of test compounds by being suitable for investigating a wide range of translational end points.  The fresh explants contain the full complement of lung parenchymal cells in their native ratios and spacial orientation.  This allows normal cell-cell communications and interactions to take place, replicating the local in vivo conditions of the lung.

An overview of the basic methodology is provided below in Figure 1.


Upon receipt, the tissue is dissected free from the pleural membrane.  Visible airways and blood vessels are also removed to produce the parenchyma explants (3-5mm3).  The parenchyma explants are then maintained in culture, under physiological conditions, where the test conditions can be added.  The orientation of the explants in culture provides the opportunity to study a wide range of experimental endpoints including (but not limited to) the following; the release of biomarkers/ mediators (culture media), the effects of test compounds on explant viability (culture media/explant), histopathological changes (explant), gene expression changes (explant) and changes in cell signalling mechanisms (explant). 

Shown below in figure 2 is mean data obtained from experiments using 4 COPD donor lung samples.    The ability of a range of standard of care treatments to modulate TNFalpha release from LPS stimulated explants was investigated.  The standard of care drugs tested were the PDE 4 inhibitor Roflumilast, the glucocorticoid Fluticasone and the beta 2-adrenoceptor agonist Formoterol. Each treatment was tested alone and in combination with the others.


Key benefits of Biopta’s human parenchymal explant model:

  • Native human tissue architecture is maintained in an in-vitro assay format
  • Diseased vs non-diseased donor responses can be compared
  • Investigate mechanisms underpinning different donor responses
  • De-risk development  and add commercial value by generating human proof of concept data prior to clinic
  • Measure multiple translational end-points from one experiment
  • Experiments can be customised according to each client’s need


Contact Biopta at to discuss a customised protocol with one of our expert scientists.

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